Aladdin at the Weston-super-Mare Playhouse gave us a properly Christmassy warm-up last night, and got a great big 10/10 from my 5 year old and a 9.5/10 from my 11 year old. Granny enjoyed it too.
To be honest I was a bit underwhelmed with the five or ten minutes, comparing it to the slicker and bigger shows at the Hippodrome. It felt almost like an amateur production; I liked the more intimite feel of the Playhouse and the charm of the young dancers but I wouldn’t have called it spectacular at that point. However, then it took off, and it was everything a pantomime should be – glitzy, a little sentimental, magical, funny, jolly, and with quite a few surprises thrown in.
Mike Goble as Wishee Washee and Daniel Slade as his brother Aladdin were likeable, warm and funny, and the chemistry between them and their mother, Widow Twanky (David Rumelle) was perfect. I’m not usually a big fan of pantomime dames but this one was everything she should be – a little rude, a little inappropriate, wonderfully dressed but also very likeable. I hope she never reads this, but something about her reminded me of my big sister.
The rest of the cast were also great, John Altman was a suitably nasty Abanazar, Jasmine (Rebecca Hazel) sang beautifully, the ‘girl genie’ was funny, and the grown-up dancers had some great moves, as did the emperor. The little dancers were very professional and I want to give a special mention to their parents – my friend’s daughter was one of the junior dancers for several years and it comes with huge amounts of preparation, planning and willingness to be taxiing children backwards and forwards day after day after day. Those parents are stars!
The biggest hit of the night for me though was someone who doesn’t even make it on to the promotional poster. Joseph Batchelor’s Genie was amazing – so much energy and charisma, so much glitter! I think he may be one to watch for the future.
I’d definitely recommend seeing this, it was perfect for children, lovely for adults and the Playhouse is a fantistic little theatre.
Aladdin shows at The Playhouse Weston until 31st December